Lead with Love

When I was a boy I lived and breathed the sport of ice hockey. There wasn’t a minute that went by that I wasn’t dreaming about being on the ice with my teammates working together trying to win. It was my obsession.

One fall weekend I had a game on Saturday evening. I was dreamy all week. My Dad assigned me raking the yard early in the week. My siblings and I knew failing meant no hockey Saturday evening. My brother drew the backyard, I was responsible for the front yard. I blew it off knowing I had all day Saturday. Imagine my surprise when I woke up to four inches of snow. I immediately pondered reprieve. Not a chance. My dad held firm. Within the hour I was shoveling the yard in order to access the leaves with my rake. Late afternoon I finished, exhausted on my way to hockey, I was furious with my dad. He didn’t say a word and the lesson was learned.

I now see this as a supreme act of Love. My parents regularly held me to account putting me in a position to independently build a life that I love. Granted a parent’s love is incomparable to any other version but these are the difficult decisions we all face in all of our relationships. Do we hold people to account? Do we bring the hard truth to those around us? We do if we love them.

Imagine if our relationships at work were as powerful as the relationship I shared with my parents when I was young. What if people at work cared for my future as much as my parents cared for my future?

At BIGGBY COFFEE our purpose is supporting you in building a life that you love. If you have contact with our organization, like reading this article, our purpose applies to you. Additionally, we are a franchise company so first and foremost our purpose applies to our franchise owners as we support them in building profitable businesses that become assets supporting them in building lives they love. But it also applies to everyone working for our franchise owners in our stores. It applies to all of our customers who walk into our stores and we give them a little boost of energy in the morning. It applies to our vendors and the community members where we do business. Most intimately, it applies to those that work in our home office and for the management team who supports everyone above. As an organization we are fully committed to helping anyone and everyone build lives they love. It is why we get up in the morning. Love is the flint igniting the fire within each of us.

We are building a community of people committed to talking turkey. Bringing the truth in relation to the conversations we all need to have in order to step out on our bleeding edge. My fantasy is to wake up each day and be with people who care enough to force each other to deeply reflect and consider how we can all be better and contribute to the world becoming a place we can all call home. This is love, this is love in the workplace.

This has informally existed in the workplace forever. Some of our closest relationships are formed at work. I met one of my closest friends while working with them for nine months 25 years ago. Today, if found myself in a pinch, he would be one of my first calls. The loyalty we have for each other is immense. It all started because we had some intense and bizarre, truly bonding, experiences working for a tech company in the mid 90’s. If you & I were having a couple of cold pops and I started to share some of these stories, you would emphatically call me out on my BS. I wouldn’t have believed it had I not lived it. Our boss abandoned us 250 miles from home because we offended his sensibilities, we had no way home. We quickly ended up on an unofficial “black list” of employees who were not able to be promoted. We made our boss cry. My buddy puked as I held his hair as we prepared to talk in front of a huge community group. Etc. Etc. These are just the beginning and the stories appropriate to share. My point is, we have had exceptional experiences and created bonds with co-workers that are incredibly hard to duplicate in any other environment.

What if?

The real question is not what if? It is what if, we loved each other, we supported each other fully? Answer this question and you have solved the puzzle of underperforming teams. If we as leaders all created high performing teams using love as our salve and our fuel to be better, to be extraordinary, there is nothing stopping us from doing and accomplishing anything and everything with which we set our focus upon.

How? Reach out to me. This is the magical stuff we are working on within our organization. We would love to share it with you. It’s not a sales proposition, we are investing massively in this work and the more people we get involved, engaged and help us iterate the better and better our program will become. We are on a mission to change the world by improving workplace culture in America.

That is what we are up to. You?